Olympian Tips* Tip of the Week: Shalaya Kipp

This week the tip of the week is a college special featuring Shalaya Kipp. Since Kipp is an Olympian and a college athlete but not a  professional athlete this weeks special will be called the Olympian Tips tip of the week


Shalaya Kipp clears the water in a steeplechase at the Pac 12 Championships - Photo Courtesy CU Athletics


Shalaya Kipp is a name many may recognize. Growing up in Utah, she started being active at a young age, whether it be swimming lessons, skiing or a variety of other activities. When she got to middle school she went out for cross country to make friends, and by the time she graduated high school was among the very best high school runners the state had to offer. After matriculating at the University of Colorado her career started to blossom. She went from being a local hero to a national hero, earning a trip to London as  a steeplechaser on the USA Track and Field team. Her journey was not one traveled alone, in fact, she was joined by fellow Buffaloes Jenny Simpson and Emma Coburn in London. Kipp took some time to speak with Utah Milesplit about the importance of a good team and being a good teammate.


 When did you want to run collegiality?


When I first thought about running in high school I wanted to focus on academics and was thinking about going the division three route, but my senior year I started to look at divisions one schools and took a recruiting trip to the University of Colorado, and loved it.


What was it like going to one of the most prestigious steeple schools in the nation? 

Not everyone gets to try the steeple at CU. When Coach Wetmore approached me to see if I was interested I felt very honored for being chosen to try it, especially with the history of the school.


How was it having Jenny (Simpson) and Emma (Coburn) around during your career?

Jenny was only around for my first semester there, but I have had Emma around for my whole career. Having Emma around is fantastic. I really think having her there has helped lead me to my successes since I have her to follow.


How did they help you, in addition to setting a high standard for you?

They [Jenny and Emma] set the bar high in practice, that's the big one. They also really create a positive atmosphere, since they have been there before. They know what it takes. They also know what it's like to have a bad workout, and can encourage you. It really is the whole atmosphere it creates.


Photo Courtesy CU Athletics


How do you try and help your teammates now?

Well with the freshman and the newer girls on the team I try and emphasize patience and time. Often times when they come in and are brand new they feel like they have something to prove. It is all about time and progression. You are a good runner now, but you can become a great runner if you are patient.


What is the secret ingredient to being a good teammate?

Hmm, that's a good question. I feel it is when you have a bad day don't let it bring everyone else down around you. Even when you are at your lowest you need to support others. You also need to know your strengths and weaknesses and give a little to help your teammates when they need it.


What role should good teammates/training partners play in the college selection role?

One of the number one things is having a good team and a good coach. When I came to CU, Coach Wetmore's reputation spoke for itself, but with the team I liked it since I saw it was a light mood, lots of joking around, no drama or anything like that. It really felt very family oriented.


What is one thing you wish you knew before you went to college that you know now?

You are not a normal student. When I first came to CU I had an academic advisor that knew I was a student athlete but didn't really understand what that meant. She had me take 17 credit hours during the cross country season. I wish I had known how difficult it was going to be. You really need to balance a lot more things since the intensity for both school and running goes way up.


Previous Tips of the Week:

Jim Ryun

Charles Jock on Race Strategy

Evan Jager on Injuries

Erik Sowinski on Perserverence

Miles Batty on Goal Setting